Zaira Wasim Quits Bollywood For Her Religion: Why the Backlash?

Recently, through an announcement on Instagram, actress Zaira Wasim decided to “disassociate” from Bollywood. Personally, I found the post deeply moving. I felt the calculation, thought, and honesty through her eloquent words. “Subhan’Allah at 18, Wasim has such a wise mind,” I thought. And then, I read the noisy comments. People assumed this decision wasn’t hers. Force must have been involved. People were shocked. They were angry. How could all that talent go to waste?

Kangana Ranaut commented that religion should “empower you, not dis-empower you.” There are many ways to unpack this statement. We could say it’s empowering to make your own decisions. But, what is empowerment when it leads to bubbling hot arrogance? Dis-empowerment could lead to humility. “Power” gnaws at inner spiritual peace, similar to ambition. Too much of it is never healthy. And I believe this factors into Wasim’s thoughts by her post.

The Industry Backlash

The fiery backlash, hate, and mingled confusion all made me reflect: Why do people feel so threatened? Zaira Wasim used an open platform to simply express her thoughts. Her words are not for everyone, and I only feel sympathy for those who don’t understand. But, we will never truly know what exact moments encouraged her to make her ultimate decision. Her words still address all of society. Believers and disbelievers. She addresses Muslims who mocked her acting career and non-Muslims who mock her while she leaves her career, respectfully and gracefully.

Wasim’s quiet charm and soothing words juxtaposed the chaotic and harsh words from fans and notable Bollywood celebs. In a since-deleted tweet, Raveena Tandon wrote that Wasim was “ungrateful,” but later revoked her statement. Vivek Agnihotri, a director, stated

In the age of artificial intelligence, we must question the book that orders an individual to quit ‘ARTS’ to make peace with Allah.

The Right to Her Own Opinion

via Giphy

It’s interesting that people are upset a woman chose to leave a poisoned industry that profits off of nepotism and sexism, with a love for pale skin. If she felt threatened the industry was tearing at her conscience, why should anyone else weigh their opinions on what she should and shouldn’t do? I don’t believe it’s up to anyone to dictate if her decision was right or wrong. Even those who mean well. Additionally, I do believe she deserves respect for whatever her choice may be since we don’t know her intentions.

As I am battling with my own spiritual state, Zaira Wasim and her profound words resonated with me. Her statements clearly show she hasn’t and will not take advice from others; the words beautifully depict her relationship with only Allah.

[Read Related: Why Jameela Jamil is the Representation South Asians Need Right Now]

Islam is a unique religion. It guided Zaira Wasim, may He guide all who are lost. There is so much we don’t know. It’s humbling to realize we only need to seek more knowledge for ourselves. Wasim’s post made me even more thankful to be a Muslim. The eternal comfort and humility to be a servant of Allah gently reassures me anytime someone rapidly attacks faith. He is the Best Disposer of all affairs. Creator of All things. Alhamdulillah. 

“Indeed, We sent down to you the Book for the people in truth. So whoever is guided – it is for [the benefit of] his soul; and whoever goes astray only goes astray to its detriment. And you are not a manager over them” [39:41].


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